Mary is a primary school teacher living in Hampshire with her husband and two teenage children. These days, Mary describes herself as reasonably active: “I’m not a couch potato,” she says. Mary picked up the BetterPoints app just seven weeks ago and jumped straight into the National Walking Month challenge. “I would probably go out walking four days a week so the challenge encouraged me to do that extra day.”
But Mary hasn’t always been so active. “I’ve struggled with my weight”, she says. “As a child I had weight issues. I remember as a Brownie, thinking, ‘oh I wish I had legs like that’. So always had an issue with body image. From 18 I kept Weight Watchers in business. Six years ago I joined Slimming World and lost five stone and have kept it off for five years. This is the longest I’ve ever been able to keep the weight off.”
It’s not just the food now, though: “I want to keep active too,” she says. “I can now be active without getting out of breath.”
Mary now does a number of activities to stay active. “I also swim, and a year ago I started with badminton lessons. I was then asked to join a club, and now go on a weekly basis.”
The swimming started with a challenge: “raising money for diabetes called ‘Swim the Channel’ was the reason I got into swimming. There’s a swimming pool very local now since September so this enables me to easily continue”.
Mary enjoys using technology to support her to stay healthy and active. “The reason for trying apps is to motivate myself, I like the incentives such as setting challenges - something to spur me on. I also have a Fitbit and I like being able to set goals and being able to challenge friends. I’ve been impressed so far with BetterPoints and pleased the background tracking doesn’t eat up my data.”
Since Mary started using BetterPoints, a new programme has started in Hampshire called the Workplace Challenge, which she has joined and encouraged her husband to join too.
“I now feel restless in the evenings, I do need that walk to freshen up round the block. The more active I am the more I want to do it. I’m never going back to the weight I was.”